Jun 24, 2019

Supreme Court to hear case on ACA payments to insurers

The Supreme Court will hear arguments why health insurers are entitled to ACA reimbursements. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Health insurers will get a chance to persuade the Supreme Court that they're entitled to roughly $12 billion in payments under the Affordable Care Act. A lower court ruled against the insurers last year, but the Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear their appeal.

The big picture: The disputed payments involve the ACA's "risk corridors" program, designed to help stabilize the law's insurance markets through their infancy. Insurers say the government still owes them billions, but the Trump administration says Congress has forbidden those payments.

How they work: Risk corridors were intended to give insurers some peace of mind as they entered a new and unpredictable marketplace.

  • The program collected money from insurers that had a better-than-expected early experience in the ACA's exchanges, and used that money for insurers whose early experience was worse than they expected.
  • But the program ended up owing more than it had taken in.
  • The assumption at the time was that HHS would cover those payments out of its budget. But then Congress passed a rider prohibiting HHS from using its funds for the program.

Why it matters: Some insurers that didn't receive the promised payments have already gone bankrupt. And the $12 billion on the line now is, obviously, a huge sum.

  • There are also broader legal issue at stake, such as what companies can expect when they enter into contracts with the federal government and whether Congress can change those terms retroactively.

Where it stands: The court won't hear the case until its next term, which begins in October.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,475,976 — Total deaths: 86,979 — Total recoveries: 317,372Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 404,352 — Total deaths: 13,829 — Total recoveries: 22,775Map.
  3. States latest: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot for June 23 primaries.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.
  5. World updates: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries should put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The battle over billionaire coronavirus saviors
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The coronavirus pandemic threatens low-wage jobs

As many as one-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and it will disproportionately displace low-income workers that do not have the financial cushion to absorb the economic blow.

Why it matters: The dire economic ramifications of the national shut-down stand to devastate those that can least afford it. Nearly 10 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims in recent weeks.

Coronavirus prompting historic drop in air travel and jet fuel demand

Air travel — and the jet fuel powering it — are plummeting alongside most other parts of our modern economy as vast swaths of the world shut down to fight the coronavirus.

Go deeperArrow52 mins ago - Health